This is why eating chocolate in winter is good for you

It’s official: eating chocolate is good for you – especially during the cold, dark winter months, according to a new study.

It’s been said plenty of times that chocolate is packed with mood-elevating benefits and anti-inflammatory flavonoids. But the new research, which was published in the journal Food Chemistry, has found that foods that are rich in cocoa, including cocoa butter, cocoa beans, cocoa powder and dark chocolate, provide a previously unknown source of vitamin D2. That’s right, chocolate is practically part of your five a day.

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As humans, our main source of vitamin D comes from sunlight projecting directly on the skin. Therefore, it is no surprise that approximately 10 million people in the UK develop low vitamin D stores between October and early March, due to a lack of sunshine.

This deficiency can lead to serious health implications as vitamin D is crucial for growth and development, but luckily, chocolate is here to save the day. Scientists at Martin Luther University (MLU) Halle-Wittenberg and the Max Rubner-Institut found that chocolate contains significant amounts of vitamin D2.

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Obviously, this is great news for chocoholics as the human body needs to hit a daily vitamin D quota for strong bones and combating illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, autoimmune disease and infections. This means that a daily dose of chocolate can be essential to your health – and if ever there was an excuse to crack open a box of Celebrations, this is it.

Though it’s probably good to know that according to the study, cocoa butter and dark chocolate contain the highest amounts of the sunshine vitamin, followed by milk chocolate, with white chocolate having the least -so pick your choice of chocolates accordingly.

What’s more? The good news could see cocoa products being recommended as a vital food source for people deficient in vitamin D or those at risk of brittle bones and respiratory diseases. We don’t quite imagine our doctors will be prescribing Cadbury’s bars just yet, but we can dream…